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Recent Submissions

Fertilizer and Nutrient Management Strategies to Build Soil Health in African Agriculture
(2023-11) Bindraban, Prem S.; Upendra Singh; Rob JJ Groot; Bernard Vanlauwe; Kido Kouassi; Patrice Annequin
There is broad consensus that sustainable intensification is the most effective pathway to improve food security and reduce poverty on the African continent. Healthy soils form the foundation to sustainably increase crop yields that can be maintained through Integrated Soil Fertility Management which integrates the use of organic and inorganic fertilizers for balanced nutrition along with other agronomic practices. However, current cultivation practices of insufficient use of fertilizers cause soil nutrient mining and degradation of African soils and farm communities to spiral into poverty. The African Union has embraced this notion to maintain the health of soils through ISFM and plans to endorse the approach at their Fertilizer and Soil Health Summit in June 2023, in Dakar, Senegal. An action plan is under construction to implement soil health improvement practices. Awareness around the importance of soils and the need for the judicious use of fertilizers has been growing in the international development arena and donors are committing themselves to contribute to the action plan. This presentation will elaborate on the outcomes of the Fertilizer and Soil Health Summit and the committed actions to improve soil health on the African continent for agricultural intensification.
Accuracy of Agricultural Data and Implications for Policy: Evidence from Maize Farmer Recall Surveys and Crop Cuts in the Guinea Savannah Zone of Ghana
(2023) William Adzawla; Edinam D. Setsoafia; Eugene D. Setsoafia; Solomon Amoabeng-Nimako; Williams K. Atakora; Bindraban, Prem S.
CONTEXT: The need for accurate data in policy design aimed at agricultural transformation cannot be overemphasized. Unfortunately, the relevance of agricultural research in addressing the needs of farmers has been questioned due to debates about appropriate methodologies and approaches for establishing research activities and, in other instances, poorly reasoned premises and paltry delineation, definition, and understanding of the system being studied. For a country like Ghana, where agricultural transformation is a prerequisite for its sustainable development, an understanding of the accuracy of farm data measurement is necessary OBJECTIVES: The objective of this study is to estimate the yield measurement error and to analyze the sources of such measurement errors among the farmers of the Guinea Savannah zone of Ghana. METHODS: Two years of data for both farmer recall surveys and crop cuts was used. Descriptive statistics, regression and sensitivity analyses were done to achieve the objectives of the study. RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS: On average, farmers’ recall of maize yields (1,544.6 kg/ha) was lower than the estimated crop cut yields (2,593.9 kg/ha), although about 11.2% of the farmers recalled higher yields than their estimated crop cut yields. The estimated average percentage error in yield measurement between crop cuts and farmer surveys was 36.4%. These yield measurement errors are due to systematic biases, including those involving the recall of farm size, and the socioeconomic conditions of the farmers. The yield estimation method also has implications on the estimated returns to scale from the use of production inputs. Although a crop cut is costly, it has limited bias in providing a better measure of yield than farmer recall surveys. Irrespective of the method used, however, more attention should be given to potential sources of systematic bias in the design and data collection. Moreover, for proper interpretation, yield estimates from recall surveys and crop cuts should be properly interpreted as economic yield or biological yields. SIGNIFICANCE: This paper provided clarity on the differences in maize yield estimates in Ghana and provided measures on how to obtain precise yield data.
Informing the Design of a Multistakeholder Platform in Ghana using Stakeholder Analysis and Social Network Analysis.
(2023-03) Aremu, T.B.; Comfort Y. Freeman; Laamari Abdelali; Y. Iddrisu; Williams K. Atakora; Bindraban, Prem S.
The fertiliser value chain in Ghana faces many challenges that limit its potential contribution to food production and food security in the country. This has necessitated discussions on the need to establish a multi-stakeholder platform to address existing value chain challenges. In preparation for this platform, this study conducted 31 interviews and identified 24 stakeholder groups in the fertiliser value chain using stakeholder analysis and social network analysis. We found that while many of the public sector stakeholders have a lot of power and show high interest in the fertiliser value chain, they usually face resource constraints in exercising their duties. Conversely, a majority of the private sector stakeholders have a high interest in fertilisers but do not have much power to influence decisions. Also, development partners are very powerful and resourceful, but practically, they have a temporary presence in the value chain. The study subsequently combined the results from stakeholder analysis and social network analysis and identified 19 critical stakeholders out of the initial 24 who can highly influence the initial planning and subsequent success of the platform. Lastly, the study identified challenges that the platform may face and the conditions to put in place to avoid/address these identified challenges. Overall, the study concludes that if the identified critical stakeholders are engaged and the platform clearly outlines its objectives and vision, it can address the challenges in the fertiliser value chain, contribute to the development of the general agriculture sector and improve food production and food security in Ghana.
Growth Stage-Dependent Foliar Application of Iron Improves its Mobilisation Towards Grain and Enhances Fe Use Efficiency in Rice
(2023-03-09) Sandeep Sharma; Renu Pandey; Christian O. Dimkpa; Arun Kumar; Bindraban, Prem S.
Foliar application could improve grain iron (Fe) concentration (GFeC) by following 4Rs, i.e., the right Fe compound with right concentration sprayed at the right growth stage with right number of sprays. We studied the Fe mobilisation towards grain and its use efficiency using chelated-Fe and nano-Fe compounds in rice.Various Fe formulations [Fe-citrate, Fe-EDTA, FePO4, nano-Fe oxide, and humic acid with FeCl3 (HA + Fe)] were evaluated for their effect on growth, yield, and Fe mobi lisation in rice. Single spray was done at tillering (set 1), anthesis (set 2), and grain filling (set 3) stages, or sprayed twice at anthesis and grain-filling (set 4) and thrice at all stages (set 5). In all sets, shoot Fe at harvest (SFeH) correlated significantly with grain yield whereas SFeH and GFeC were negatively correlated, indicating that higher Fe in foliage promotes growth but would not necessarily increase grain Fe. A significant correlation between GFe uptake (GFeU) with Fe mobilisation efficiency index revealed that Fe mobilisation from shoot rather than root was the primary contributor to GFeU. Among Fe compounds, HA + Fe application enhanced grain yield and GFeU (> 70%) relative to control in all sets whereas nano-Fe (4 mM) resulted in highest GFeC in sets 4 and 5. Improved yield and Fe mobilisation from shoot towards grain was obtained with a single spray of HA + Fe either at anthesis or grain-filling stage. Thus, foliar Fe regimen has potential to enhance grain mineral quality and alleviate Fe deficiency that have implications for human health.
Nutrient Remobilization and C:N:P Stoichiometry in Response to Elevated CO2 and Low Phosphorus Availability in Rice Cultivars Introgressed with and Without Pup1
(2024) Sandeep Sharma; D.H. Raviteja; Tarun Kumar; Bindraban, Prem S.; Renu Pandey
The continuously rising atmospheric CO2 concentration potentially increase plant growth through stimulating C metabolism; however, plant C:N:P stoichiometry in response to elevated CO2 (eCO2) under low P stress remains largely unknown. We investigated the combined effect of eCO2 and low phosphorus on growth, yield, C:N:P stoichiometry, and remobilization in rice cv. Kasalath (aus type), IR64 (a mega rice variety), and IR64-Pup1 (Pup1 QTL introgressed IR64). In response to eCO2 and low P, the C accumulation increased significantly (particularly at anthesis stage) while N and P concentration decreased leading to higher C:N and C:P ratios in all plant components (leaf, sheath, stem, and grain) than ambient CO2. The remobilization efficiencies of N and P were also reduced under low P with eCO2 as compared to control conditions. Among cultivars, the combined effect of eCO2 and low P was greater in IR64-Pup1 and produced higher biomass and grain yield as compared to IR64. However, IR64-Pup1 exhibited a lower N but higher P concentration than IR64, indicating that the Pup1 QTL improved P uptake but did not influence N uptake. Our study suggests that the P availability along with eCO2 would alter the C:N:P ratios due to their differential partitioning, thereby affecting growth and yield.